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For most people, animals and plants, a warming planet is generally a bad thing, bringing dramatic climate shifts and changes in ecosystems. But not everyone will suffer. A few species stand to gain a lot, actually. Like, for example, those poor killer whales trapped in Canada.
Caught by surprise as the mercury fell, a pod of about 12 orcas spent two days bobbing up and down in a truck-sized breathing hole through thick sea ice, with no way out. The whales were way too far inland and north of where they should be this time of year, trolling the waters outside of Inukjuak, Quebec, in Hudson Bay. Dramatically warmer Arctic waters from this summer are one reason why, according to Canadian environmental officials. Climate change has reduced sea ice cover in Hudson Bay, which enables orcas to spend more time there feeding. Then the temperatures shifted and sea ice started to form, boxing the whales in.
The orcas drew worldwide fascination and calls for help, but Canadian environmental officials said they had no available icebreaker to cut a path to the sea. But a changing climate gives and takes. Wind and currents seem to have shifted in the past day, breaking up large chunks of sea ice and freeing the whales, according to various Canadian news reports. See? Some animals will benefit from warmer seas. Polar bears’ plight is sad, but there’s always a silver lining.
This led us to wonder which other animals could stand to gain from global warming. Click through to the gallery for a few examples.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.